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Axiom Advocates Celebrates a Decade in Practice

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Axiom Advocates Celebrates a Decade in Practice

24 April 2017

This month highly-regarded stable Axiom Advocates celebrates its 10-year anniversary. The Edinburgh-based set has enjoyed a phenomenally successful decade since it was established in 2007.

Founding members included a number of prominent advocates; former Solicitor General and current Chairman of the Scottish Law Commission, Paul Cullen QC (now Lord Pentland), Alistair Clark QC (now Lord Clark), Sarah Wolffe QC (now Lady Wolffe), Richard Keen QC (now Lord Keen of Elie, the Advocate General for Scotland), and James Wolffe QC (now the Lord Advocate). Practice managers Christine Ferguson (since retired) and Lesley Flynn took the helm, with their titles reflecting the strategic importance of their role.

When Axiom Advocates was established, it was the first Scottish chambers to select its members based on merit, a concept which others have since adopted but at the time was a revolutionary approach. This self-determination model assisted in ensuring Axiom Advocates quickly became the go-to set for the majority of significant commercial and public law cases in Scotland, with partial or full representation from Axiom advocates in most headline cases.

Since start up, major cases including the Brexit case, R (Miller) -v- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Morrison & Others v Alistair Carmichael MP, the Princess Diana Inquest, the Lockerbie Appeal, Scotch Whisky minimum pricing, the Rangers tax appeal, and cases challenging tobacco control and pleural plaques legislation, have all seen Axiom members involved – often on both sides.

Founding member David Johnston QC commented: “We, as founding members, thought the existing system was unsatisfactory, since the stables were more or less arbitrary groups which did not profess expertise in any particular areas of law. Ten years ago the way Faculty Services Ltd allocated members changed, allowing us the scope to develop a model that would be more attractive to solicitors.

“Following the establishment of Axiom Advocates, we consulted many leading firms of solicitors firms to discuss improvements which they thought would be desirable in provision of advocates’ services, and we took these points into account when establishing our working practices, practices which remain central to what we offer.”

Over the years, Axiom has cemented its position as the leading public and commercial law chamber in Scotland. Sixteen members have made silk in this time, with multiple standing juniors providing lead counsel for the Scottish Government, demonstrating the high regard for members at all levels. In the most recent annual Chambers UK rankings, Axiom continued to lead the way, with 105 rankings across 15 different practice areas, by far the most highly ranked chamber in Scotland.
Commenting on the anniversary, outgoing stable director Roddy Dunlop QC added: “We are delighted to reach this milestone and it is an opportune moment to reflect on what has been a hugely successful decade. For this, we must credit our clerking team, who are highly regarded in the market. We have benefited from our self-selection policy and in turn each member has great confidence in their fellow members’ abilities. Our core practice areas continue to thrive, however we also receive wide recognition across all areas, with a team of highly acclaimed practitioners.”

With an initial team of 29 advocates, Axiom now has close to 50 advocates across its 16 practice areas.